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A hedgerow shrub occurring mainly on chalk and lime rich soils.


  • Spindle: spinning a yarn

    Post date: Monday, 7 November, 2016 - 21:26

    There are some plants that have really insignificant, sometimes almost indiscernible, flowers but come in to their own when autumn arrives and their fruits emerge. Holly is one that comes to mind but the spindle (Euonymus europaeus) is undoubtedly another. 

    Spindle is not an uncommon shrub, probably overlooked for much of the year. In summer it has tiny little creamy green four petalled flowers just a few millimetres across. In the autumn they produce brilliant coral pink seed cases that could almost be flowers in their own right. The pink seed cases then split to reveal a bright orange fruit inside. Quite unique amongst our wild flora and easy to pick out.
    Spindle occurs mainly on our chalk downland and lime rich soils. It has thin twiggy branches, hence our use of the word 'spindly' for anything thin. The wood, however, is white in colour and hard and smooth in texture which led to it being used for traditional spindles that were used in spinning wool and cotton. It was also the primary plant for producing artist's charcoal.
    Altogether an interesting plant that is popular with insets too.

Common Name Spindle
Scientific Name Euonymus europaeus
Species Group Hedgerow Shrubs
Interest Level
Look for
Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Family Spindle family - Celastraceae
Status Restricted
Flower Colour Group White
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
Preferred Environment
Look for The flowers of the spindle are small and often overlooked but the seeds in autumn are a lovely pink colour
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Hedgerow Shrubs